2018 Sound recording expedition


Do you want to join me on a sound recording trip to the Congo basin rainforest? The trip is already planned and will take place from November 1st to the 26th. Get in touch with me to sign up. I'm aiming for a small group of intrepid recordists, no more than 5 or 6. I will not be charging for organizing the trip so we'll share all costs equally. A very rough budget estimate is about £7000 per person. As soon as one or two people join, this should decrease since we'll be able to share costs and it will be easier to obtain discounts.

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbdodane

Gabon is about the size of the UK. Roughly 85% of its land is covered in rainforest, and more than 80% of its 2 million inhabitants live in urban areas. This interesting mix provides excellent recording opportunities since anthropophony should be limited and wilderness easy to find. Tourism infrastructure is non-existent, which means it won't be easy to find our way around the country. However, this also means we won't bump into hordes of photographers everywhere we stop.

Main recording targets:

  • huge variety of bird species (estimates vary but some sources mention more than 1000)

  • large populations of forest elephants (over 50,000), hippos, forest buffalo

  • primate species like the Western lowland gorilla (over a quarter of Africa's remaining population), mandrills, chimpanzees, mangabeys and other monkeys

  • leopards, golden cats, jackals, mongooses (mongeese?)

  • 3 species of crocodile

  • a wealth of frog and insect species

Photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/janhamlet1/

There will be opportunities to record the ethnic music of the local Baka people (formerly and unrespectfully called Pygmies). We might also do some urban, rural and vehicle recording but this is not the main focus of the trip.

A tentative itinerary is as follows: Libreville - Lope NP - Ivindo NP - Moukalaba-Doudau NP - Loango NP - back to Libreville, with stops at hotels en route. If we have enough time at the end of the trip we can also take short day trips from LBV to Crystal Mountain NP, Wonga-Wongue Reserve or we can take boat trips to do whale watching (and recording).

This itinerary is subject to change depending on several factors. Weather and the state of the roads is an important one. November is the end of the mini rainy season, so there might be some disruption. Availability of transport is another one. We might have to take detours and to wait, but we'll be in excellent environments for recording so this shouldn't pose problems.